The next morning...
I drop Henry off at school. I take the trip over to Benjamin's. He should be home.
I knock on the door.
He opens it. "This is a surprise. Come in. Are you alright?"
"Yes." I state.
He frowns deeper. "Are you sure."
I say nothing, remembering what I came here to say.
"I was thinking about what you said. And...I agree."
He whips around. "With me?"
I laugh. "Yeah. Listen...I want to try. I forgive you. I...should've a long time ago, and that was my fault y'know? But I think working on a relationship is a great idea."
He steps toward me. I fortify myself. Don't react.
He puts his hand to my forehead. "Are you...sure you're not coming down with something? You don't have a fever."
I chuckle, waving him away.
His brows knit.
"No, no," I step back. "I guess I just realized I want to be happy. With you. And I was...holding myself back. So I want to try. For us and Henry."
I keep the smile on my face.
I bought new foundation. And I haven't eaten breakfast.
"Well," he says lowly, "I'm glad you feel that way," he keeps frowning. "I just...didn't expect this. Especially so soon—"
"Yeah. I know. I'm just...I can be such an eyesore y'know," I chuckle.
"Huh? An eyesore, why would you say that?"
I blink. "So what time do you leave for work? Around 8 right?"
He takes my hand, looking over me. "Yeah. Come sit with me. Are you hungry?"
"Oh I had breakfast," I smile.
"You're smiling a lot," he notes.
"I'm...trying to be happier. Y'know? Like manifesting. If I smile my day will go better I saw that online," my eyes dart around.
My stomach grumbles.
"Sure I cant get you something? An apple at least?"
"Oh no. I just had a very heavy breakfast—"
"I've never seen you eat breakfast in my life Jessica," he states, "To this day. You never eat more than a bite."
I swallow. "Well I had a late night so I was hungry this morning."
He nods. "Okay."
I sigh. Tightening my grip on his hand. "So..." I smile. "What next?"
His eyes narrow a little. "Well. You know I think...maybe you should take a break. You've been dealing with so much—"
"I'm fine," I smile. "Thank you for asking. I'm glad we had this moment. Now, I have to get to work soon but I just...wanted to share the good news."
"Are you okay, honey?" He asks again.
"I just told you I'm fine? Do I look bad? I just bought a new foundation. I'm sorry—"
His eyes widen. "Honey?"
Shit. I stand. I feel a little dizzy but nothing I'm not used to.
He pulls my back down, bumping his nose with mine.
I nod. "I said I'm fine, Benji. I've gotta get to work," I pause, kissing him. "Have a good day."
I leave. I did it. I did good. I did good. I smile. Yes.
Not always. I'm not always an eyesore. I drive home.
• • •
I clean up before Henry gets home, I do some work. I text Benjamin and set a date night.
I'm doing well.
It's lunch time.
I keep moving. I just don't have time right now. I need to keep going. So many things to do. I look in my closet.
All of my dresses seem...
Mh. Well. Maybe a black one. Slimming. Yes. Was that always there? That...it's fine. It's fine. I look in the mirror, turning around. Why am I so...I fit this before I left.
I sigh. It's fine.
I smile. Yes. If I smile, I'll be happy. Like before. Just smile. Never mind it. Everything can't be perfect.
My god I feel so small.
It's alright. I run out of things to do eventually. I don't think I should've went to the UK. I know that things...issues about me...problems I have from my father come through all the time.
He didn't love me and that fucked me up. But if I smile than I'll be f—
Benjamin loves me. And Henry loves me. As long as I just...keep going. It'll be okay. It's always fine. I will be fine.
I stand. My head hurts a little.
Someone knocks at the door. Who else but Benji even knows I exist?
I open it and smile. "Hey!"
He smiles. "I brought lunch. I have an hour. Let's eat together?"
I grin. "I would love to! Oh but I just ate, so just eat in front of me, and talk okay?"
He goes into the kitchen. "What did you eat? You barely eat put, and I don't see any dishes. I don't smell any food."
"Oh, I heated up some leftovers. Never mind me, Benji, sit. How's your day been?"
He observes me. "Eat something, Jessica."
"I just told you—"
"In front of me."
I pause and smile, looking down at the burger. My stomach turns.
"Okay. If you insist. But if I become an eyesore it's your fault," I chuckle, biting into it.
He smiles. "Thank you."
I keep chewing.
"You're not eating," he says.
"It's in my mouth,"
"You haven't swallowed any food. Eat. Please."
I swallow the food in mouth. I finish the burger and we talk. Eventually he has to go back to work. I walk him out.
It must have been too greasy, because I had to throw it all up.
But I feel better afterwards. I brush my teeth. Henry will be home soon. I should make him something to eat.
I step back out of the bathroom. Benjamin stands there.
I smile. "I told I didn't feel well."
"No. You told me you already ate."
I smile. I wish he would smile.
"Yeah. I ate too much silly. I'll eat dinner. I promise."
He kisses my head. "I'll come back to check on you tonight, Honey. You stay safe alright?"
He leaves. I watch him go. I realize I didn't flush the toilet. How disgusting. I go back in the bathroom. I look at the vomit in the toilet. I flush it away.
"What an eyesore."